Undecided b/w Wars, Or Hands Of Time - Masters Apprentices (Ugly Pop)
There’s a case to be made for this being the best Australian 45 of all time so Canadian label Ugly Pop has done the world a great service by re-issuing it. Here are the young Masters in their early incarnation, their essence wrapped up in two succinct but telling garage punk punches.
Gloriously raw and an inspiration to countless bands that have followed (Radio Birdman and the Saints among them), “Undecided” explodes with the snarl of over-driven guitars and the young Jim Keays’ unrestrained vocal.Taken from the Aztec Records re-master, it has translated perfectly to vinyl with a crunching bottom end and punchy mid-range.
“War, Or Hands Of Time” might have had an esoteric title but there’s no mistaking the meaning of its lyrics of going off to war with no guarantee of a return. The psycheclic undetone belies the sentiment and that's one of the things that makes it stand apart from the trite pop that dominated the charts of the time. Again, the mastering sounds fantastic and beggars belief that it was recorded in 1966 (or maybe that’s why it sounds so great.)
Later line-ups would make a mark but there's no denying this one, built on the songwriting talent of rhythm guitarist Mick Bower, was a special blend of R & B and garage rock. These two songs mark their undeniable high-point.
Packaged with the german picture sleeve, an insert (and a label taking off the original Astor one), it’s been given the treatment it deserved.